Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Furry Valentine: A Cat Lover Goes to the Dogs by Cleo Coyle

I love my husband (dearly, dearly), but I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day. When I was a singleton, I felt left out. As part of a couple, I find the whole thing somewhat forced. Not that it's a bad idea to enrich hardworking chocolatiers, restaurateurs, and greeting card companies. The economy can use as much activity as earnest sweethearts can give it!

Cleo Coyle, fan of furry creatures,
large and small, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
On the other hand, I can't help thinking of those of you who simply are not in the hearts and flowers mood today. To you, I bring the celebration of love...in a slightly different form.

Today marks the second and final day of the annual Westminster Dog Show in New York City. I always enjoy reports from this show, as well as the Cat  Show, which I sometimes attend. (Two of my own New York strays are featured in my photos today.)

In both of these shows, the love and appreciation of our furry friends is a very sweet sight to see. When "Best in Show" is announced at the end of the events, naming the single pup who captures almost everyone's heart, it invariable brings tears to many eyes (mine included). 

If you would like to see today's world famous Dog Show, you can watch it live via Streaming Video. I've embedded the link right into this post (just click the arrow in the window below) or you can visit the Westminster site hereYou can also view some of Monday's judging (by breed) in recorded videos...

See Monday's Dog Show Judging 
(By Breed) in Videos here.

An example below of the 
Bearded Collie judging...

NOTE: A short commercial will play first and
then you'll see the judging highlights.


To watch the Live Stream from the Dog Show,
the arrow in the window below....

Video streaming by Ustream

As far as today's recipe, this might shock you, but I'm under such a tight writing deadline this month that I'm literally going to the dogs...hot dogs!

Hey, don't laugh. I'll have you know that 
Michael Bloomberg, our billionaire businessman mayor, is a fan. As the story goes, during one of the many posh events that he attended a few years back, the buffet was as lavish as one might expect at such a function, including jumbo shrimp bigger than a toddler’s fist. But the succulent shrimp didn’t interest the mayor. What Mr. Bloomberg kept reaching for were savory little wieners wrapped in pastry dough. Yes, that’s right, our billionaire mayor couldn’t stop eating good old Pigs in Blankets...

Pigs in Blankets:
Billionaire Mayor Bait!

If you’ve never had Pigs in Blankets made with hot dogs and either pastry or biscuit dough, then you’re missing out. 

RECIPE DIRECTIONS: Take a package of your favorite brand of hot dogs and cut 8 of them in two, making 16 pieces. Slice a shallow incision lengthwise in each piece and tuck a sliver of your favorite cheese inside (cheddar, Monterey jack, queso blanco, mozzarella, Swiss).

Break open a tube of Pillsbury Crescents (or your favorite brand of refrigerated pastry dough). There are eight triangles per tube. Cut the triangles of dough in half. You now have 16 pieces of dough. Roll the dough around your cheese-stuffed hot dog halves. Place on a baking sheet that’s been coated with a bit of non-stick cooking spray. Bake for about 10 to 14 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F. 

When dough is puffed and golden brown, remove from oven. Serve warm with a side of tiny pickles and a “dipping sauce” of ketchup and mustard mixed together at a 1:1 ratio. (It’s classic!)

And now I ask you
on this Valentine's
(and Dog Show) Tuesday...



from Mr. Fellows, Cleocatra, and...

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.


  1. Wow, the show! I love the show. And the adorable picture of Cleo"cat"tra and her pal. Wow.

    Memories. I used to serve my son pigs in a blanket all the time. He adored them. Oh, gosh, I adore "him." My "other" valentine--other than my hubby. :)

    Thank you, Cleo.



  2. Oh, pigs in a blanket... one of my all-time faves! But nothing beats a Chicago dog from a stand.

  3. I like my Nathan's hot dog plain.

    Good luck with your deadline.

    Love the Westminster Dog Show.

  4. I'm a Gray's Papya guy all the way, although from a push cart guy on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a personal favorite. Nothing like a dog in the park, little kraut, mustard and onions. Other than my too rare visits to New York, I am not really a hot dog guy. Can't think of a recipe I make with hot dogs.


  5. awwwwwww...We love watching the Westminster show, especially when there's an Australian shepherd in the hunt!

  6. Loved the clips. I just want to hug every one of the sweeties!!

    I'm a mustard, onion, and sauerkraut hot dog lover, too.

  7. I read in the paper this morning that the average spent on Valentine's Day swag is $126. For that kind of money, I'd rather put it into one nice restaurant meal.

    My mother used to breed and show Shih Tzus, so I tagged along to a number of dog shows (never Westminster, though). Dog people are an interesting group.

    The only time I eat hot dogs with any enthusiasm is at football games, and I haven't been to one of those for a very long time. Does sausage count?

  8. Happy Valentine's Day Cleo!! Like you I've never been a big fan of Valentine's but the husband and I did exchange cards this morning before we left for our respective work days. Those pigs in a blanket look wonderful, and they are one of my favorite snacks! Now you've got me hungry for them so a stop at the grocery might be in store for me tonight so I can make them while we watch Westminster. We are cat people (rescue cats to be precise) but we always take time to watch Westminster, I love seeing those beautiful dogs and I'm rooting for the German Shepard to take best in show!

    Pam Fulk

  9. I always love watching Westminster. German Shepherds, Goldens, Jack Russells, Bernese Mountain Dogs are all favorites, but I also root for cuties of other breeds.

    And I love your sweet kitties!

    I'm just like Dru, a hot dog purist. If it's a good hot dog, I don't want anything but a bun!

    ~ Krista

  10. I feel just the way you do about Valentines Day. Well put. As far as hot dogs go, I love them and always have. Ideally, with mustard, relish, onion, and sauerkraut if it's available. I also love coneys - there is a coney sauce recipe from a (now closed) little restaurant in our hometown that my brother and I have been on a mission to recreate for YEARS! We email each other with things to try, but we've still not quite gotten it right.

  11. I watch the dog show off and on. My pup Proxy likes watching all the dogs on tv. It is funny watching her head go back and forth and sometimes even walking closer to the tv.

    Those cats are adorable!

    I like my franks (can't let Proxy think I am typing about her), with sauerkraut and mustard or chili, onions and mustard.

  12. I have a recipe for a hot dog chili... it is supposed to taste like coney island hot dog chili but I never had it so I dont know. I can say that mine is good... if you want the recipe let me know and I can post it or email it.

  13. For the last 18 years we haven't celebrated Valentine's Day here at Chez Phillipe because we are celebrating our very own Chef Connor who turns...gasp...sob...18 shudder today. How did my baby get so old so fast?? As most mothers will attest hot dogs figured prominently in our menu. The SE Michigan area is filled with coney island restaurants...typically owned by Greek immigrants who make the VERY best coney dogs ever! So good in fact that there have been several competitions for the best coney on national tv. The most famous two are Lafayette (our fave) and American Coney Islands. Both sit next door to each in downtown Detroit...I should have done some homework to find out why we Mittenlanders call them coneys; especially since I'm writing to an NYC girl...but I don't know ;-) I do know that Chef Connor and Princess Emily called coneys just that...but they called "Pigs in a Blanket" "comfy dogs" because they thought the dogs looked comfy in their blankets!! So today, in honor of our 4 pure bred rescue dogs and the Chef's birthday I will make "comfy dogs"...we add grilled onions before we roll 'em up and then have a good yellow mustard and coney sauce for dipping. Coney sauce is just beanless chili, by the way!

    Happy working against a deadline, watching crazily groomed dogs, and eating comfy dogs Day to you, Marc and the kitty gang!!!!

    Nanc...the very proud mom and a wonderful young man...who happens to be 18 but will always fit in my lap...

  14. Love dogs! Though I must admit, the dog show doesn't capture me the way the Puppy Bowl (Animal Planet on Superbowl Sunday) does. It's too structured for me, which is probably why I have three terriers (yes, I am insane). Here's my old lady: http://twitpic.com/1t0kls

    As far as hot dogs, for me there is only one kind: Papaya King on 86th and 3rd. I grew up eating them and no other dog works for me anymore!

  15. Thanks to everyone for your comments. I had great fun reading how much you love your dogs (the kind you pet *and* the kind you eat). My apologies for not replying to each of you. (My Internet hookup has been giving me agita – that’s Italian for indigestion!) But I'll try to come back soon and post more replies. I’ll also try to post a link to this event's BEST IN SHOW. In the meantime, thanks again for taking the time and trouble to stop by the Kitchen and have a doggone great week. :)

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter



  17. We have friends who own Mutts Amazing Hot Dogs in Oklahoma City. The dogs are fabulous, and the company is pretty fantastic, too.
    I am addicted to their "pups", mini corn dogs that are just out of this world good.